Bird Camp

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend Bird Camp hosted by Oiselle. They first announced it early fall last year so I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of camp. I knew it was going to be fun but these Oiselle ladies knocked it out of the park, huge thanks to all the Oiselle ladies that made it happen especially Lesko, Sally and Kristin, JJ (amazing job on food).

I arrived Wed at Portland airport with Ashley and the plan of meeting up with 5 ladies from around the country, renting a van and driving to Bend. I assumed the 3+hour van ride would help us get to know each other. We were officially known as #vanbytherivergirls. Check us out on twitter. We arrived in a heavy rainstorm in Bend around 530pm. Our camp was held at Seventh Mountain Resort right along the Deschutes river. It was absolutely stunning and we had river trails to run on right outside our door.

me at Lauren Fleshman at Bird camp

me at Lauren Fleshman at Bird camp

#vanbytherivergirls

#vanbytheriver

I was concerned about food/meals. Being a gluten-free vegetarian I am not always the easiest person to feed. I love Picky Bars but did not want to eat them the whole trip. I was very pleased to be given a couple large boxes full of foods that accommodated my needs at check-in. Also every meal was labeled and had options I could enjoy. Thanks JJ for making this happen. I have never traveled and had “food” by this easy and abundant. I think I might have gained weight on the trip. One thing I could not resist was the gluten-free chocolate cake Fri night after build your own burger! This was in turn followed by smores (I had to pass, too full).

We were assigned roommates and I got to meet a new friend, Holly, from Jacksonville, FL. One of the best parts of camp was getting to know the 90+ women from around the country and a few from Canada.

We had a jam-packed agenda full of rich quality speakers, activities, runs, workouts, yoga, field trips, etc. Here is a sample:

Thursday

7am breakfast in room

8am Jasyoga meditation

815am activation exercises and run lead by Littlewing

930-11 pt for runners by Jay DiCharry checkout his book http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Runners-Unlocking-Potential-Prevention/dp/1620871599  (I was so thrilled that he was in attendance, I love his book)

11-12 nutrition for runners Stephanie Howe (Western States Ultra Champion, amazing!!!)

12 lunch

1 elite speakers and goal setting with Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace (could get inspired by them all day long)

230 jasyoga

330-5 free time (I did my pt exercises after being inspired by Jay)

515 report to bus to depart to downtown Bend

7pm Deschutes 5k run outside Deschutes Brewery (free beer afterwards)

8 dinner at Café Yumm (it was yummy)

9 bus back

(we had to awake at 6 the next morning for our field trip to Smith Rock)

 

Smith Rock with Kristine Burgess from Chicago

Smith Rock with Kristine Burgess from Chicago

refreshing dip in the river after hiking Misery Ridge at Smith Rock

refreshing dip in the river after hiking Misery Ridge at Smith Rock

I have not done speed work since March due to injury. I am in base building mode with easy runs, my longest being 8 miles. I was planning to take it easy on the 5k and run a conservative 745 training pace. Well I got really excited with all the Oiselle girls in matching jerseys and wanting to pass a few guys. Ended up running avg pace of 7:11 but felt amazing. My goal was to be able to run every day of camp (it was achieved).

Thursday am 4 miles pm 5k race

Fri 4 mile hike Smith Rock, 4 mile afternoon run

Sat 10 mile run (amazing run along river trail felt awesome the whole way)

Sun 4 mile run (sore but just had to enjoy friends and weather one last time)

Friday we visited Smith Rock which was amazing. There were several choices for hikes and runs. It was pretty steep so I opted for the hike with a run later if I was feeling good. Lauren explained the routes to us and commented that she had hiked Misery Ridge at 8 months pregnant!! Misery Ridge was a beautiful climb followed by a lovely walk along the river. I could not resist a dip in the river! We had a wonderful box lunch picnic in the grass before heading back. The rest of the day was another flurry of activities. Around 10pm I went to my room to take out my contacts and try to gain a bit of energy. I laid on the bed and my phone was lighting up with tweets about the smores by the fire, Lauren playing guitar but I had nothing left and called it a night.

view of river from Smith Rock

view of river from Smith Rock

Saturday after good breakfast we headed on the river trail for a long run. The trail was amazing, rolling hills, shade, dirt path and excellent views.  I was hoping to run a solid 8. I had a great group of runners, Megan, Allie, and Susie. Since they were going farther I decided to add on a bit and then risk having to walk back at the end. I was able to run all 10 miles with no problems. This was amazing!!!! I have not run this long since March. I planned to take a few days off when I got home.

Deschutes river trail

Deschutes river trail

 

 

Nuun hydration break just before I turned back.

Nuun hydration break just before I turned back.

Sat afternoon I went tubing down the river with several girls. It was really fun and relaxing. Also the cold water was amazing on glutes/hips they were getting really sore. There was a dinner, band, dancing planned for us that evening. We rushed back from the river and I showered and changed in 8 minutes flat! The whole weekend was full of rich activities and I did not want to miss a beat so lots of running from here to there!! We had an amazing taco bar catered at Crows Feet with a great band playing. More kombucha on tap (gotta love Oregon). We opened the night with Lauren Fleshman leading us in signing the national anthem, quite moving. We finished dinner and danced under the stars to a great band. There were several men looking on, I am sure very curious about this large group of attractive and fit women!! The band wrapped up and we headed across the street for more dancing. I was getting pretty tired but just soaked it all in.

post race Thursday night with Jude and Christine Babcock. He is so cute.

post race Thursday night with Jude and Christine Babcock. He is so cute.

Sunday morning came way too early. I was determined to squeeze in one more run, despite exhaustion and barely being able to move my legs. I met my running partners at the conference center and spotted some Runenergy to throw in my bottle. Little did I know when I opened it the bottle was empty. Yikes!!

getting duped by the empty bottle of runenergy

getting duped by the empty bottle of runenergy

I think I could write a lot more and post tons of picture but I really want to get this out! All in all camp was amazing. I felt overwhelmed by the awesome women I met. I look forward to staying in contact and hearing about their races!!! Can’s wait for BirdCamp next year.

Sonoran Distance Project Flagstaff Running Camp

It has been a roller coaster few months. I have started seeing a new physical therapist and things are finally clicking (and healing). I prefer to focus on the positive and looking forward rather than back over the last several months of dealing with hamstring/glute injury. I felt as if I was living in the space between doctor visits, mri, x-ray, treatment, etc. and now the grey clouds have lifted. I have been able to run every other day 5-7 miles with no pain for a few weeks now. I was so blessed that Coach John arranged a running camp up at his cabin in Flagstaff for the Sonoran Distance Project Team this summer.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining my Sonoran Distance Project teammates (most of them) at running camp in Flagstaff. He owns a rustic cabin up in the cool pines of Flagstaff at 7000 ft elevation and much cooler temps than Phoenix in the summer. Susan “The Legend” Loken and I drove up together. We arrived just in time for Tanaya’s awesome yoga class. Great way to stretch out after the drive. After yoga we headed out for a quick 4 miler. Meals had been divided up and I have to say we had some awesome food the entire weekend! The cabin has no electricity (gas-powered stove and frig) so we hit the beds pretty early since it was dark before 8.

New meaning to downward dog

New meaning to downward dog

 

 

Hops helping Susan relax and breath.

Hops helping Susan relax and breath

 

 

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Saturday we headed out from the cabin for a variety of distances. This would be my first time running 2 days in a row in months. I was excited and nervous. My teammates graciously turned around at 3.5 mile so I could run 7 and hopefully add 1 more around the meadow if I was feeling good. The cool weather was fantastic. There were rolling hills and I could definitely feel the elevation. We were excited to have Janet , 10,000 meter 2012 Olympic team member. She shared her story of coming from Kenya to run in college and her transition into a professional runner. She is an amazing runner and fantastic story-teller. I loved hearing the story of the Vidalia Onion race where she set the course record, won a bag of onions and cleaned out the race organizers collecting the prize money she won. I look forward to watching her progression.

SDP girls with Janet.

SDP girls with Janet.

Janet sharing her story.

Janet sharing her story.

Following Janet’s talk and lunch we had an opportunity to work with the different committees we have set up for Sonoran Distance Project. We are really trying to promote our group and obtain sponsorship as well as give back to our communities. We had some amazing ideas and I look forward to seeing the growth of our team. Our team is very dynamic in many ways: age ranging between 25-51, some former collegiate runners, med students, stay at home parents (that’s me), health coach, nurse, professional runner, and the list goes on. We all have the same collective goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. The school teacher Arianna came out as she whipped out her large poster sheets and smelly markers! All the more fun to create with.

Natalie and I were proud of our poster for the marketing committee.

Natalie and I were proud of our poster for the marketing committee.

Saturday afternoon we had games of skill (or chance). Pull-ups at the horse corral, archery, egg toss. The past year and a half I have battled tendonitis in each elbow and really have not done much upper body strength training. I was shocked to see I could barely muscle up a pull-up. Time to hit the gym! Our pull-up team champion was Natalie (former gymnast of course) and Coach John beat us all. The archery was pretty interesting since most of us have not used a bow and arrow before. I was happy no one shot a person or dog. Autumn shocked us all with her archery skills. Playing the egg toss in the meadow meant we did not have to clean up the mess!! We had a fantastic taco dinner that night. This was  followed by some celebration cupcakes in honor of the newlyweds Amy and Jesse. The evening was capped off with a game of “Would you rather?” we decided we need to make a runner’s version for next summer.

Natalie cranking out the pull-ups!

Autumn looking like a pro.

Autumn looking like a pro.

struggling with my pull-ups.

struggling with my pull-ups.

 

Sunday morning John arranged for us to meet with a group of runners that train in Flagstaff. There are many elite runners training/living in Flagstaff with 7000 ft elevation and good weather much of the year it is ideal. We had an amazing group, wish I had a chance to meet everyone but did talk to a few girls. I was hoping my 3rd day of running in a row would be ok. I was so excited to have a pain-free 6 mile run!!

Flagstaff long run. The best of AZ runners!

Flagstaff long run. The best of AZ runners!

Overall it was a fantastic camp giving us a chance to bond and run together. Did I mention it was about 40 degrees cooler than Phoenix? yeah that was nice too!

Next up: Oiselle Running Camp in Bend, OR August 13. Very excited!!! Running is going well and I can’t wait to visit with all the Oiselle girls!

 

Need a tax donation for this year?? Want to support up and coming elite runners?? Our team has our 5013C status. Click here to make a donation http://sonorandistanceproject.com/

Check out our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sonorandistanceproject and our twitter https://twitter.com/SonoranDistProj

White moments a Little League Championship is won!

This is a very belated post for my son Josh. He started playing Little League in 1st grade. This was his last year to play since he would be too old next year. He loves playing baseball and when they draft the teams he always hopes for a good quality coach and a few friends on the team. He was happy to get both this year on his Sun Devils team.

old school Josh cubs team circa 2012

old school Josh cubs team circa 2012

Josh is a lover of all sports and plays on a variety of teams. Last year he was on 8 teams for baseball, basketball, flag football, tackle football, cross country, track (lots of driving on my part). He had been having a great season with a high batting average, lots of hits and an amazing 39 runs scored for his team in 24 games.

dog pile after Championship win

dog pile after Championship win

The playoff games are double elimination and his Sun Devil team had lost a game early into the playoffs (there was some controversy but Sun Devils held their heads high and kept playing great baseball). I recall the Saturday night Katherine had her gymnastics banquet and they were matched against a strong team. If they lost they would be out of the playoffs. I wished him good luck and told him I knew they would win since mom just had to see his last game. In extra innings with a tied scored a teammate hit a grand slam!!! They would continue on to Monday’s game.

Keep winning you get to keep playing and this took them all the way to Wednesday night. They would need a double-header and 2 wins to take the championship title. The issue with so many games is that you run out of pitchers (kids are capped out with pitch count rules). Over the weekend we could see the writing on the wall and realized Josh just might be called on to pitch. He is always willing to play any position needed to help his team but has not pitched in 2 years. I knew that beyond the skill needed there is a big mental aspect to pitching (just like the marathon). I started reading him passages from my favorite book Mind Gym. We discussed

-take one pitch at a time, wipe the slate clean and pitch the next one

-listen to the cues from your coach

-no pressure no expectation (just try your best)

-give luck a chance to happen

-be open to the possibility of greatness

-be in the zone, block out all external noise and distractions

Quoting Mind Gym ” Many people who play sports long enough or work at their craft hard enough experience those magical moments where their training and trust in themselves come together in perfect harmony. Their performance flows smoothly, effortlessly, and almost unconsciously. Sometimes these special moments happen as if by grace”.  The ironic thing is that could not really tell Josh to trust his training since he had been practicing pitching for a couple of days.

First the Sun Devils had to win game 1 Wed. It was tied in the 6th inning. Josh did what he does best GETS ON BASE. His teammates that follow in the batting order give him the opportunity to score. This video I took that night shows it all. Sean hits a great hit, most players would get 2 bases on it but Josh does his other amazing talent RUN FAST. He takes it all the way home to score the tieing run! The boys in the dugout go crazy! Next player up has a great hit and they are off to the final game with hopes of a Championship Title.

Video we titled “one out rally” Josh has amazing run after Sean’s awesome hit.

Us moms swing into action feeding the kids sandwiches (Udi’s gluten free for Josh) watermelon, drinks to get them ready. Coach Gordy takes Josh over to warm him up for pitching.  I am trying not to be nervous and encourage him. His team was out on the field warming up and Josh was in the dugout getting in the zone with a big grin on his face. I shouted a couple of words of encouragement telling him “You got this, one pitch at a time, trust your stuff”. I am sure the other team was thinking “who the heck is this kid pitching??”

mentally preparing

mentally preparing

Josh was amazing! He did exactly what I had told him, listening to the coach, one pitch at a time, be in the zone. His teammates did a fabulous job fielding the hits and getting the kids out. The boys were encouraging Josh and he was soaking it in.  I think he only walked 2 boys the whole game. Josh continued his hitting streak and got on base 7 for 7 times he was up to bat in both games. In between innings they had him slip on a long sleeve shirt to keep his arm warmed up (which I think they had to explain to him). I think he floated on air that whole game. In the last inning one of his teammates struck out and was having some tears in the dugout, Josh walked over gave him some words of encouragement to cheer him up. I always loves when he does that! The games are usually 6 innings but the Sun Devils shut them down by leading by 10 runs in the 4th inning. Josh ended up being the only pitchers for the Sun Devils that night. The team was ecstatic (did I mention we played this same team last year in the playoffs but results were not the same). Sweet Victory. We finally made it home at almost 1030pm even allowed him a little Mind Craft since we knew he could not get to sleep.

Josh pitching a winning game

Josh pitching a winning game

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Tempe South Little League Champions

Tempe South Little League Champions

The next day I reminded him how special that night was and to soak it in, be proud of his accomplishments! When it was all on the line he soared above any expectation anyone had for him and played a crucial role in helping his team to win the championship.  I said Josh “That was your white moment, they don’t happen often so cherish it”.

 

One of my favorite hits Josh had, sorry a bit shaky at beginning trying to step over all the kids lined up on the ground.

 

Have you had some white moments while competing? Share your story!!

A State Champion among us!

My lastest blog entry is dedicated to my beautiful daughter Katherine. I am so proud of what she accompolished winning gymnastics State All Around Champion title I want to share her story.

Soaking it all in from the top of podium.

 

Last fall she made the brave decision to switch from Junior Olympic (compolsury) to Xcel (optional) level with a new coach and teammates, same gym. As she entered 8th grade the training schedule of 4 hr practices on school days was difficult to combine with the homework load of a prep school. Xcel would have her training M/F 430-730 and Sat 8-12. She had to miss out on lots of social opportunites/events this year but was very dedicated to her gymnastics.

Her competition season started in January and she qualified to compete at the state meet which was held April 5. This season she has had success and some frustration on the beam. She has placed on several events and placed anywhere from last in all around score or as high as maybe 7th.  She had not stuck a beam routine this spring. Her main goal at state was to STAY ON THE BEAM. I had been sharing quotes from my favorite book “Mind Gym” all week. I wrote her good luck card the night before emphasizing “trust your stuff”, and all your hard work, sweat, blood, tears, physical therapy, etc, has sculpted you into the gymnast you are today.

The morning of the meet she was cool as a cucumber, I was hiding my nervous energy. I had received word from another parent that judges were a bit tough. To be expected, it is the state meet after all. She warmed up on bars first, I saw her fall during a squat on jump to high bar. She was rubbing her neck a bit and looked to have some tears in her eyes. Oh yikes not the way to start the day!!!! The first few gymnasts competed on bars with scores in the mid 7’s, yikes tough scores. I was holding my breath for Katherine and finally let it out when she successfully made her jump to high bar without falling. She had a solid routine and nearly stuck the dismount, 8.85, Not her best bars score but we will take it!

See the bars routine here http://youtu.be/0HVV27COKdE

warming up on bars

warming up on bars

coaches setting the bars for Katherine, at 5"6 1/2 she needs them really high!

coaches setting the bars for Katherine, at 5″6 1/2 she needs them really high!

Next it was on to beam, there was some falling during the warm-up. Luckily Katherine usually has the attitude “well got my falls over with”. My hands were literally shaking holding the camera. Any parent of a gymnast can understand, it is nerve wracking when your daughter is competing on beam!!! I competed gymnastics for many years and was very unsuccessfull on the beam! I recall watching the last Olympics and broadcaster said “Every gymnast upon retirement should be let alone with a beam and a chainsaw”, I could not agree more.  Katherine performed one skill after another her smile getting bigger and bigger during the routine. She had a few small bobbles but stayed on the beam!!! She was jumping for joy afterwards, scoring a 9.0.

See the beam routine here http://youtu.be/0HVV27COKdE

Katherine getting last minute advice from Coach Melissa

Katherine getting last minute advice from Coach Melissa

 

I think she floated her way over to the floor routine next. She really has loved having her own choreography and music selection this year. She picked a theme song from “Catching Fire”. We recognized one of the judges on the floor, she is tough to impress. Katherine was beautiful on floor, graceful, powerful, strong and elegant. She nailed her front tuck with a big smile right in front of the judges table. It was awesome. score 9.25

See the floor routine here http://youtu.be/thKxFlC-YBs

One of her goals this season was to score 36 all around she has had 35.975. Kevin calculated she needed a 8.9 on vault. ok doable but you never know. She changed her vault about a month ago and it is working nicely for her. I was watching her teammate go and the score board was really far away and hard to read. I was having trouble with 8.000 or 8.8000. I had not seen a 9 on the scoreboard yet. Katherine had a great run and awesome vault with lots of power she took one small step. My eyes were straining to see the scoreboard, 9.0. Yippee she did it she met her goal.

Throughout the meet I was catching a few scores of other gymnasts but not too much. I figured she would place a couple events but not sure where she would be for all-around. When they were announcing vault results and calling girls to podium “in 1st place with 9.0 Katherine Camberg” (she did tie with another gymnast). She was shocked, she has never placed 1st at a meet before on anything. She stood on the podium in awe with the biggest smile. She got medals for every single event so we figured we knew she would podium for all-around. I had not really done the math at all so was thinking maybe 4th? As they were calling the names you could see her excitement building. “State Champion for All-Around Katherine Camberg”, she let out a yelp and climbed atop the podium to accept her medal beaming with pride and shock. Once the ceremony was over I was trying to work my way through the throngs of gymnasts to congratulate her, she took off to find her coach. Coach Melissa was out on the floor preparing the next group for competition. Never in her wildest dreams did Katherine think she would win state, we are so proud of her.

Katherine and her teammates all won state titles for their age group.

Katherine and her teammates all won state titles for their age group.

Some of her teammates they placed 1st in state.

Some of her teammates they placed 1st in state.

I am so proud of Katherine for all her hardwork and dedication. The lessons she has learned in gymnastics will serve her for a lifetime. Her team won 1st and had 2 girls make the State Team. The girls will head to Regional Gymnastics meet at the end of April.

Retooling my running

January I started working with a physical therapist that I have worked with in the past. Nicole has been really great about helping me identify causes to some of the issues I have had that keep coming back to haunt me. Last year was not really a banner year so I am just trying some different things to see if it helps. One big move was taking my orthotics out of my running shoes. I had originally gotten them made when I was a triathlete.  Last fall I had to refit my bike after 4 years off of it since my muscles/body has really changed. So changing my shoe/orthotic situation seemed to make sense (under supervision). Nicole felt my right foot and hip were very locked up and tight (I would agree). The first 6 weeks out of my orthotics went very smooth. I was able to work up to a few 12 mile runs, got my weekly mileage over 40 miles and even started adding speed. Throughout this process I was working with her on exercises, stretching and whatever needed to be done! I really had to place my trust in her but she talked me through it with sound advice and valid reasons. The exciting part is that it has been pain-free running. I admit the exercises are at times boring and tedious but I know if I don’t spend time everyday doing the work I might as well not run since I will most likely end up injured.

Nicole had mentioned that eventually I would switch out of a stability shoe and into a neutral running shoe. Two weeks ago I was experiencing a severe pain above my ankle bone (inner ankle area). I called her in a panic and she had some great ideas (for stretching) and we met a few days later. She also thought it was time to get the neutral shoes. I have been switching back and forth with the shoes.  I knew enough to back-off for a few days. Progress continues at a slow pace but it is the work I need to put in, like laying the foundation.

I am looking forward to some fun events coming up; Tri for the Cure and Carlsbad 5000. I will be a last-minute replacement runner on a relay team at Tri for the Cure and then next weekend I travel to San Diego to run Carlsbad 5000. I have always wanted to run this event and definitely disappointed I am not in racing shape. I will be visiting my brother and his family. My sister in-law Carren and I will be running the event together.

Little League season has begun and luckily cross country and football season ended. Josh is enjoying running when he can find time. We had a great run over spring break through the Indian Reservation winding through a resort. He is hoping to run in some races this spring if we can find time in his schedule.

Katherine is intensely preparing for her state gymnastics meet first week of April and hopes to qualify for the Regional meet. She misses running with her cross country team and has been training with a friend from the team. It is so cute to see them plan a run and head out together. She wants to run cross country and track in high school next year. Both kids actually wanted to run track this spring but there is no way they could make the practices/meets.

We have been blessed with awesome weather here in AZ, although we desperately need rain. I am worried how hot the summer will be this year. I plan to get out of town and race as much as possible. We are already planning a race on Coronado Island for 4th of July. Should be a great family event!

 

March issues of Running Times http://www.runningtimes.com/running-times and Runners World http://www.runnersworld.com/ have some great articles about weak hips and glutes. There is reference made to Jay Dicharry’s book Anatomy for Runners. I really like the book it has some good assessments and exercises.

Do you have any spring races planned?? Traveling anywhere for a race this spring/summer?

Sonoran Distance Project Check it out!

I am so excited to have the website launched for our group; Sonoran Distance Project, be sure and check it out.

http://sonorandistanceproject.com/

I finally had a break through week last week!! I received my new contact lenses and was still suffering from headaches. I decided to approach it with a last ditch effort, 2 chiropractic adjustments on my neck, deep massage focused on the migraine pain and a few days of my medication. By the end of last week I finally was free from the headaches that have been plaguing me the last few months. It felt like the dark skies lifted and the sun came out. My elbow is slowly healing with about 25% improvement over the last couple weeks.

I also had a great week of running. I was keeping with my 2 days on 1 day off and slowly building mileage. I ran pain free 38 miles and had 2 long runs of 9 miles. The 2nd of those long runs was in error as we got lost on the trail. I was prepared to walk if needed but everything felt fine.

Mom brag alert!!!! I am really proud of my 2 kids and this past weekend they really shined on the competition arena. Both kids are running cross country for their school and the championships event was held Sat. Josh has always had endless amounts of energy, Katherine does also but enjoys her quiet time and not being overscheduled. The xcountry championships fell on a day she also had a gymnastics meet. It would be possible to compete in both but would be a very long day. She decided to do both not want to let down her xcountry team since the girls were undefeated leading into the meet.

Sunday night Josh started getting a sore throat and cold, Thursday night Katherine was feeling the same way. I was using every essential oil, herb, supplement, neti pot  etc to get these kids feeling better. Saturday morning started cool and crisp with the kids feeling a bit better, ready for a long day.

Katherine and Josh before the big race.

Katherine and Josh before the big race.

Tempe Prep girls team, undefeated all season!

Tempe Prep girls team, undefeated all season!

Katherine ran her fasted 2 miles of the season finishing 12th overall. I am really proud of her, she raced her best and then cheered on her teammates. We had to skip out on the post race breakfast to get home and rest, rehydrate and get “meet hair” ready for gymnastics meet. The girls team did wonderful this year I am really proud of them .

Boys team tied for 2nd place.

Boys team tied for 2nd place.

Josh is slightly more competitive than I am (if that is possible). He had been 6th most of the season and had one 5th place finish. He was wanting to finish in 5th place and knew he had to race hard against the 8th grade boys (he is in 6th grade). I gave him advice, pep talks and encouragement. He started out nice and fast to avoid being boxed in at the narrow start, we would not see him again until about 200m from finish. When he came in sight my heart leapt, he was in 5th with 3 boys on his heels. I cheered with all my might “don’t stop til you are past the clock”. He held his position with the other 3 boys finishing 1-2 seconds behind him. He was beaming with pride and returned to the race to cheer on his teammates.

There would be no post race celebration for Josh either since he had to go straight to his flag football game. He played rusher and they won by a ton. Not sure where he found the energy to keep running more! I love that Josh avidly read his book from one sporting event to the next using the car as his locker room.  Kevin was his chauffeur that day clocking around 120 miles total to all 3 kids events.

We left home at 230 to get to the meet on time. Once I got Katherine checked in a live band was playing really really loud during the girls warm-up. Katherine was covering her ears. Then there was a little dance show so the whole thing started about an hour late. I was crossing my fingers she would not run out of steam before the end of the meet. She had a great meet, stayed on the bars (her big goal), beautiful beam routine scoring 8.8 (including a fall on the full turn). Her last event was the floor and she really nailed it. I was hoping to upload the video but seems to be giving me trouble.

Gold Medal Xcel Gold team wins 1st place and an electric guitar.

Gold Medal Xcel Gold team wins 1st place and an electric guitar.

Gold Medal Excel Gold and Platinum at Classic Rock Meet

Gold Medal Excel Gold and Platinum at Classic Rock Meet

We finally made it home about 9pm to our out of town visitors. We sat by the fire pit outside enjoying our family. I glance over at Josh and notice he is still wearing his football clothing which means he has not showered. When I inquired he said “I was not sure if I was done with sports for the day?” that generated a nice laugh to end the night.

I am looking forward to another solid week of training then some speed work. Can’t wait to start planning my race schedule.

Back to blogging!

I can’t believe my last blog post was Nov 13! I just reread it and in reference to my right glute and left hamstring “I had some panic set in about the pains hoping it was not going to develop into anything.” Yes well definitely developed and hung on like there was no end in sight. I have been battling through multiple health issues and trying to keep my head above water (or honestly not slip into a deep depression).

Quick recap of last few months then on to some fun stuff! Running has been on/off with lingering issues that can’t seem to allow me to do any speed work or run more than 30 miles per week since mid Nov. The day before Thanksgiving I woke with my left elbow on fire in pain (just to set the record straight it was my right elbow that gave me trouble all year and took 8 months to resolve).  I have been dealing with vision issues all year and received a diagnosis of keratoconus in July after my 3rd eye doctor. I had suspected this might be the case and was at least glad to get confirmation. I had over 40 eye appts last year and still had not quite got contact lenses that would work for me. To top it off around Nov I started experiencing migraines and headaches from the vision problems.  I have worked with several people and tried many different things for elbow, eyes, headaches, and hamstring/glute. It was a difficult last couple months of the year as I worked hard to get better and get as many medical issues covered by insurance before the end of the year since we had met our huge deductible.

We rang in the new year at the Midnight Madness Run. I enjoyed running easy under the stars with my daughter. We had brought noise makers and silly glasses and I joked maybe these glasses would work for me!

The first week of the 2014 I reflected on where I was at and where I needed to be both with my overall health and running. I decided to mix it up and switch to some different doctors for some of my health issues. My elbow was causing me constant daily pain and just could not take it any longer. So far a couple weeks in things are slowly making progress. I actually put my ponytail in the other morning without gritting my teeth.

My kids have continued to be busy competing on in their sports. It has been fun watching them and a great distraction. I am really proud of how hard they work in school and on the athletic platform. They are both running cross-country on their school team. In Dec the team did a local 5k Josh won handcuffs and coach awarded him with “monster runner” for the schools first team race. Katherine is only able to attend practice 1x per week due to her gymnastics schedule but has been running consistently and encouraging the girls on her team. This is the first time both kids have been on the same sports team since swimming when they were 5 &7.

Josh "monster runner"

Josh “monster runner”

warming up before first xcountry meet

warming up before first xcountry meet

Katherine had an early season gymnastics meet in Nov. She was excited to perform her new routines and compete as a Gold Excel level gymnast. She competed with grace and composure during her floor routine when her tooth came out and just kept going. After the routine she stepped off the floor and brought me the tooth for safe keeping.

Katherine holding her tooth after AZ Grand meet.

Katherine holding her tooth after AZ Grand meet.

tomorrow the kids have their championship meet for xcountry. The girls team is undefeated and the boy’s team has been placing 2 a several times. Josh has taken his competitiveness to another notch, setting and achieving goals. He wanted to run under 12 minutes (done 11:48, place in top 5, achieved). It has been fun watching them develop as runners and I love cheering on the kids and taking pictures of their team. I had to ask the kids if they thought I was too crazy cheering for them, team members said they love the encouragement. It should be a fun day tmrw.

Xcountry meet with grandma and Stan. Josh placed 5th that day.

Xcountry meet with grandma and Stan. Josh placed 5th that day.

Their coach gave the kids an opportunity to run an Xterra event. We had to leave around 630am load up the car with lots of kids and drive almost an hour. The kids had a blast! The girls swept the podium and we got 2 out of 3 boys on the podium. Josh was beaming with pride at the top of that podium. I would have loved to run the race but knew it was not in my best interest so took lots of photos!

Xcountry team at Xterra 8k trail race

Xcountry team at Xterra 8k trail race

Lauren Fleshman and the “Oiselle Little Wing” girls are in town for some winter training. It has been fun running and connecting with them. They all headed to Washington to race this weekend. Going to cheer on Betsey Flood, Christine Babcock, Lauren, Kara Foster and Mel Lawrence from home.

Trail run with Oiselle gals, Josh and his friend John were happy to hang with the fast girls.

Trail run with Oiselle gals, Josh and his friend John were happy to hang with the fast girls.

Oiselle Little Wing dinner party at our house

Oiselle Little Wing dinner party at our house

We hosted a fun Oiselle Little Wing dinner party at our house last week. The new fire pit was quite a hit. Laughs, great food and fun times were had by all.

It has been a bumpy few months but I have so many things to be grateful for and am fortunate I am a very optimistic person!! My husband Kevin has been very supportive through all the trials and tribulations. My kids always life my spirits and fill me with joy. Connecting with all the Oiselle ladies has been a blast. Monday trial runs with my friend Susan, JT, Arianna, Priscilla (and anyone else that joins us) has been great. It helps me realize I am on my way back. My coach John has continued to encourage me to keep my fitness up as much as possible and that I will be back out there racing strong soon. Our newly formed Sonoran Distance Project is really starting to take flight. I am excited to be part of this group of women as we work towards our goal of the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. Follow us on twitter at  @SonoranDistProj One final thing is reconnecting with a friend from college, Phil and getting to know his family. During our day together him and his wife told me about a challenge they were part of and invited me to join in. Whole Life Challenge (wholelifechallenge.com) is a 60 day challenge. I agreed to it on the spot and then panicked the next day but it was been 2 weeks now and I am really enjoying it. I am partially surviving on my new favorite Garden of Life Raw Protein shakes made with cashew milk!!!

Tomorrow will be a busy day: xcountry championships, Josh football game, Katherine gymnastics meet, last-minute visit from my brother’s family. I am thankful for all the activity and richness in my life!

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